Do or Do Not.

The King of Comics

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Fret not, all of you fans of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower–the series of novels might be done, but he’s going to be writing a number of limited series and original graphic novels for Marvel Comics fleshing out that world and much of Roland Deschain’s yet-untold backstory.

I’ve never been as a big a fan of the Dark Tower books as some others, though I have liked the ones I’ve read (only the first four so far). I know that there’s an enormous contingency of people who regard the Dark Tower series as the apex of King’s work; I suspect that King himself might be one of them.

What excites me more than anything else about King’s continuing the story at Marvel, however, is the number of potential new fans he could bring to the medium.

If these new Dark Tower comics can get even a small fraction of King’s readership into the stores, then that’s a pretty sizable number–likely a larger number than read even the top-selling comics published currently. And that potential for new readership encourages both other comics creators to up their games and retailers to promote the books properly so that the industry keeps these new readers. These rookies just need to be shown how much worthwhile, entertaining work is out there to be had. There’s every chance that someone looking for the Dark Tower comics could find other comics they’d like just as well–Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man, for instance, or Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, just to name two.

MAYDAY! Initiating awkward narrative transition in 3, 2, 1…

I first became a Stephen King fan when I was thirteen–it was Halloween night, 1984, when I bought a paperback copy of Pet Sematary from the 7-Eleven near my house. [1] I tore through that book pretty quickly (I still think Pet Sematary has one of the creepiest, most perfect final pages I’ve ever read, though a lot of that could be 13-year-old me talking), and then I devoured almost all of the King I could get my hands on after that. And I’ve continued to be a faithful reader during the 21 years since. I can’t say I’ve read everything he’s published, but there’s more of his oeuvre that I’ve read than I haven’t. [2]

And I’ve been a fan of comic books for even longer, since I was ten. I’ve gone through various stages where I’ve been more or less excited about the form, including some periods where I was flat-out embarrassed about liking them (when I was a teenager and really concerned with being thought of as cool), but comics are still the storytelling medium for which I have the most love and affection.

All of which means, of course, that Stephen King writing any comics, Dark Tower or otherwise, is pretty much guaranteed to get my geek up. It’s actually been something of a surprise to me that he’s never really done any comics-related work before; he’s never made any secret of the fact that he’s always been a comic-book fan. I wonder if it’s just that no one ever asked him before?

Anyway, for those of you interested, the first Dark Tower comics will start coming out in March of next year. I’ll be sure to keep you updated. In the meantime, enjoy a sample of the gorgeous artwork you’ll be able to expect (courtesy penciller Jae Lee and colorist Richard Isanove):

[1] I found that very book in one of the water-damaged boxes in our basement. Luckily, it’s pretty much OK–I have more than a little sentimental attachment to that particular book.

[2] Big Steve was also the first author I cna honestly say had a direct influence on my own writing. He was the first writer I consciously stole from, and his conversational tone greatly informs much of my writing to this day.

Written by Allen

October 29th, 2005 at 4:16 pm

One Response to 'The King of Comics'

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  1. The Dark Tower books can be pretty uneven… I liked the first two a lot, especially #2, but thought that #3 and #4 seemed really incoherent. #5, #6 and #7 were all written pretty much at one go and so are a little more consistent.

    I was excited to see the comic book announcement too. :-)


    30 Oct 05 at 9:51 am

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